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Mar-A-Lago Intruder Deemed Mentally Competent And Allowed To Represent Herself At Trial

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Court rendering of Yujing Zhang at her pretrial detention hearing Monday, April 8, 2019.

A federal judge ruled Tuesday that the Chinese woman accused of trespassing at President Donald Trump’s private Palm Beach club would be allowed represent herself after her attorneys found no evidence of mental incompetency.

U.S. District Judge Roy Altman ruled that Yujing Zhang, 33, will be allowed to to represent herself as she faces two federal charges. Altman also appointed public defenders as “stand-by lawyers” so that if she has any questions or if she changes her mind they can come back in and advise her.

At Tuesday’s hearing in Fort Lauderdale — the first conducted in English, per Zhang’s request — Zhang’s public defender, Kristy Militello, called her client’s decision to represent herself “ill-advised” but rational. Militello said she has spoken with Zhang at length since the last hearing, during which Zhang maintained she wanted to serve as her own advocate.

Read more at our news partner, the Miami Herald.